Michelle Obama stresses message of moving forward at DNC

Compiled by Courier Staff

Milwaukee received a preview of First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech when she visited the city recently and spoke at Bradley Tech. She shared much of her message that she officially delivered to the nation from the DNC. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

First Lady Michelle Obama had a task to fulfill at Tuesday night’s Democratic National Convention (DNC), and that was to explain to the country why her husband, President Barack Obama deserves four more years as the leader of this nation. She more than surpassed that task with her speech, she brought tears, cheers, and she gave accounts of the president’s successes, obstacles and struggles before he took office and since he has served in office.

Michelle Obama brought the focus of this race for the White House back to what should be important to everyday Americans, and she shared her own personal family history and her husband’s to demonstrate that they have not forgotten what it took to get where they are.

She spoke on the values that both she and her husband were taught, “We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make…that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square. We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values Barack and I – and so many of you – are trying to pass on to our own children. That’s who we are.” she stressed.

She spoke about her observations as she has traveled the country, and met everyday Americans struggling, and she spoke about struggle in a personal way as well. She shared the experience of coming from a financially challenged childhood with a father who suffered from MS, but got up everyday and went to work a blue collar job in Chicago. She spoke on only being able to attend college with grants and student loans, yet her father still paid what he was supposed to toward her and her brother’s tuition and was so proud of never being late with his payments.

She spoke on how the President had a similar upbringing, with a single mother, and help from his grandparents. A grandmother who worked a job with a glass ceiling where she ended up training men who climbed up the corporate ladder as she remained in the same position.

“Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are. You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like. And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error. And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.” she said.

“You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like. And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error. And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are. So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother. He’s thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day’s work.

That’s why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work. That’s why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet. That’s how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.” she continued.

And in addressing the healthcare issue she offered, “When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that’s not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do. He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness. And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.”

The statement that drew the biggest applause from the audience was this one; “So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political – they’re personal. Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles.

He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids. Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it…and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love. And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you… you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”